Choosing to eat vegan and gluten-free meant Madeleine Roel had to learn to bake in a different way. The first recipe I really made was a vegan cheesecake. It’s her favorite dessert. It’s also the first thing she sold when she opened her gluten-free and vegan baked goods store, Bunny’s Bite.
This cheesecake recipe became her bestseller, finding fans not only in Milwaukee but across the country thanks to online sales.
Ruyle works out of a commercial kitchen in Wauwatosa. Look for Bunny’s Bite at farm markets including Wauwatosa and Shorewood this summer, as well as many cafes and restaurants in the area. For updated schedules and to order, go to bunnysbite.com.
Building its brand
Bunny’s Bite started as a food blogger about six years ago. I was transitioning to eating vegan and gluten-free. I’ve been vegan for years, ever since I was a little kid. This was a huge transformation, especially the gluten-free side. I don’t have any allergies, I kind of tried for health reasons. I’ve always been interested in food and my health…
I got invited to sell sweets at a vegan festival in 2018. That was the first time I sold my products. The lamp went out. This is how I can make money and do what I love!
I quit my waitress job that week and went to work in markets, pop-ups and whatever I could sell my stuff. I did this for a few months and then clients started recommending my product to various cafes and restaurants around Milwaukee. I slowly started collecting wholesale accounts.
more:‘We Can Make Anything Vegan’: Choices Are Improving, Especially In Milwaukee’s Minority Communities
I am the youngest at 10 years old. Most of my childhood was in Sok City. …I ended up in Milwaukee and stayed here for 10 years, which is officially the longest place I’ve lived in my life. I moved in with my sister after graduating from high school.
Mom, it was obvious she was doing a lot of cooking for us kids. She always cooked and baked. I was her little helper. I remember helping her mix the flour. I’m going to mash bananas for banana bread. We made it every week. I think I sold my first candy when I was 10. I was making lemon bars and my sister’s friend was obsessed with them so she bought me some.
My specialty from the start has always been cheesecake. This was something I missed when I became vegan, so it was one of the first desserts I mastered.
I started with coconut flour. It was the hardest one, and I’ve never been able to use it. I discovered it very quickly. For my recipes, it is best to make a mixture of flour. I don’t think I have any products that contain just one flour, because I’ve found that most all-purpose gluten-free flours, if you only use this one, are on the denser side. This you usually find in gluten-free products, it is very dense and somewhat like cardboard.
I tried almond flour. This was definitely the first recipe improvement. Then I discovered chickpea flour. This was the key to my cookies. It was all trial and error.
People will say no, I’m not vegan or gluten-free. They don’t realize that you don’t have to eat these things. Anyone can eat it. In fact, most of my clients are not vegan or gluten-free.
more:The creator of DEVOUR thought gluten-free baked goods were total. Now she’s making her own mix
Really believe in yourself and your product and always imagine success. Always assume that every event is going to be amazing. Believe it and set yourself a high standard. Your mind is very important. When I set a crazy goal, like I’m going to sell even though I’ve made a lot, it always works better. In line with that, it is an openness to opportunities…
I participated in the Battle of the Chefs, a local fun food fight in Milwaukee. I was very busy at the time, and I suffer. But I was sure. I didn’t allow myself to get nervous. I had to make 100 mini cheesecakes. There was a lot of work. I sure won. That was reassuring. I can do these crazy things that once seemed so scary and impossible.
I love biscuit bars. I do peanut butter cups and cappuccino cookies and almond butter. It contains a good amount of oats. I can eat several times a day, not like I should, but I felt bad and didn’t feel like it. I eat these for breakfast quite often.
I choose what I eat with how I feel. It has made a difference for me in eating vegan. This is why all of my products are unrefined sugars. I noticed that if I ate powdered sugar or cane sugar, I would have a headache or gut ache. My body doesn’t like it. I use coconut sugar and maple syrup.
current plug obsession
I love seasonal fruits. My favorite thing is the cheesecake or pancakes. There is usually some kind of fruit topping on cheesecakes. I am currently very excited about cherries. I wait all year round to make cherry pie and cherry cheesecake.
Cheesecake and biscuit bars. Cheesecakes I get a lot of special requests for birthday parties and events. These are my two favorites and they are great.
Where to find Bunny’s Bite
Fourteen different restaurant and cafe locations carry my stuff, including Beans and Barley, all three locations for Valentine Coffee, Twisted Plants in Cudahy and the new Brady Street location, and a handful of coffee shops, Alderaan, Venture, Beerline Cafe.
I ship across the states. Thanks to social media, I have regular people from the East and West Coast, Texas and Florida.
I have about 60 events for this market season through October. It’s my favorite part of the job. Once I’m there and staying, I don’t feel like working. Direct selling to clients is what keeps me going.
fork. spoon. life. It explores the everyday relationship that local notables (within and without the food community) have with food. To suggest future personalities for the profile, send an email to [email protected]